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About the vigor of trees... and patience

The Gerenal Sherman is considered the largest tree in the world. Measured in wood volume that is. This 2500-year-old Giant Sequoia weighs no less than 2000 tons. That is more than the weight of all inhabitants of a small town put together.

And to think that this forest giant germinated from a seed the size of a flattened pinhead with a weight of 0.0057 grams.

Suppose we take 200,000 seeds of which 10% germinate and survive the youth stage… Then they can grow to 40,000,000 tons. Is that a lot? Yes, it is. It is as many as 181 fully loaded Ever Givens (the container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in 2021).

Back to the weight of the General Sherman for a moment. Two thousand tons in 2500 years amounts to an average increase of 800 kg per year. Assuming as much as 15% of carbon in a living tree (source) and knowing that the carbon atom makes up 27% of the weight of a CO2 molecule, we arrive at an average CO2 capture of 440 kg/year.

In 2018, the Dutch had an average fossil CO2 emission of 15.8 tons per person (source). Conclusion: if every Dutch(wo)man plants 36 baby General Shermans (on fallow ground - it must be additional of course) and pampers these giants for the next 2500 years, then... ehh... then we can continue using fossil fuel. Or not? Just to be sure, let's stop using fossil energy and plant as many trees as possible at the same time! This way we keep the planet a bit cooler and we can continue to enjoy what nature has to offer :-).

Meanwhile, we patiently wait for our newly sprouted sequoias to grow big enough to travel. What is 2 months out of a life of 2500 years...?

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